By Laura Badiu, TrustYou
The last few months have been extremely challenging not only for businesses but for people in general. While many of us keep thinking that everything will eventually blow over and we’ll go back to how things were before the crisis, the truth of the matter is that our old “normal” might change forever. From how we travel to how we make plans and even up to how we communicate, we all need to anticipate and prepare for the “new normal”.
In hospitality, hotel-guest communication is already shifting towards a contactless approach. Less face-to-face interaction, less physical contact, more smiles behind masks, and even more distance between people—while all these represent the safest way of communicating, they also sound incredibly impersonal. So how can you, as a hotelier, ensure that your interactions with your guests are still open and personal while being 100% contactless?
The answer lies in direct messaging. Texting customers has been a popular concept for quite a while and many customers have gotten to the point where they expect businesses to reach out in this way. Messaging has proven to be more successful than emails or phone calls and now more than ever, it can be the perfect replacement for face-to-face interactions. Communicating in the post-coronavirus world doesn’t necessarily have to be a challenge—with the right messaging solution, it can be easy, instant, and completely safe.
Direct messaging your guests is not only a great way of keeping interactions contactless, but it also appeals to the modern consumer’s need for immediacy. When you come to think of it, we live in the era of speed—instant payments, same-day deliveries, on-demand content, fast service, and immediate responses to basically every question or inquiry. Whether we’re talking about communicating through SMS, live chat, or any type of messaging app, we are all striving for the fastest and most efficient way of communicating. Urgency is what defines interactions in the 21st century and that concept has infiltrated every single aspect of our lives, including the business one.
The majority of hoteliers have been enabling messaging solutions for years so by now, the concept and particularities of direct messaging guests are far from foreign. What does change during this challenging period, however, is the level of reliability that hotel businesses should place on messaging. While contactless communication methods have been successfully balanced with face-to-face interactions and close human contact, hoteliers need to almost completely shift their approach towards a contactless one. Same as hotels all over the world are focusing their efforts on enabling a self-check-in process for their guests, communication needs to be kept at a safe distance in order to minimize contact and increase safety. Consider that the current crisis will have reverberations for years to come and travelers will undoubtedly change their travel behavior and preferences towards safer options—in terms of checking-in, eating, participating in activities, or communicating while at a hotel. Your ability to enable more secure methods of interaction, while leveraging them for fast service and higher satisfaction levels, will appeal to consumers more than simply communicating like you always did, but with a mask.
When grounding the messaging concept in the current hospitality scene, consider the following benefits:
- Messaging is contactless—it can be done from a distance, through any preferred app or communication channel, without any physical contact. This applies not only to communication between staff and guests but also between staff members themselves, who can text each other instead of interacting closely and face-to-face.
- Messaging is expected—hotel guests are now more tech-savvy than a few years ago and they expect businesses to adjust to their needs and behavior
- Messaging is easy—texting is (literally) in everyone’s hands. It requires a minimum of time and effort from both sides.
- Messaging saves time—not only in terms of direct communication but also when it comes to internal operations. The hotel staff can manage and assign tasks in order to increase efficiency and solve issues on the spot.